Sting supports Sage Gateshead's £3m fundraiser saying music centre has a 'vital' role in the region...

July 22, 2020

Superstar and Dame Margaret Barbour are announced as patrons of music centre's Covid-19 campaign.

Sting has called Sage Gateshead vital and irreplacable as he takes up a new role as a patron of the fundraising campaign set up by the music centre to secure its future.

The North East-born superstar said he is delighted to support the Sage as it faces its enormous challenge to raise £3m over three years to ensure it can survive the effects of the coronavirus crisis.

Joining the musician as a newly-announced patron is local businesswoman and philanthropist Dame Margaret Barbour who, like Sting, is already a long-time supporter of the music centre on the banks of the Tyne.

News of their appointments came as the Sage Covid-19 campaign, which was launched in June with the name Crisis, Recovery and Renaissance, reached the £200,000 mark - 20% of the charity’s first year target- thanks to public donations. But it has a long way to go.

Sting said: “As a result of the global pandemic, they’re now facing significant financial challenges.

"I’m delighted to be able to support their current three-year campaign as a patron, and I hope they’ll bounce back from this crisis to make live music a major part of the North East’s recovery.”

The singer-songwriter - who ahead of the Covid-19 outbreak had backed the Stand Up for Sage Gateshead campaign which highlighted plans to introduce more standing gigs and a more diverse music programme - added: “Sage Gateshead is a vital and irreplaceable part of musical life in the North East.

"It’s a world-class venue that attracts musicians from across the globe, nurtures the next generation of musicians from our region and does amazing work with communities."

During the music centre's lockdown closure, donations have become its main source of income.

While it welcomed the Government's announcement of the £1.57bn support fund it has pledged for the arts, there is no news yet as to how the money will be shared out.

And, regardless, the venue says that it will take more than that to close the financial gap caused by Covid-19, which is now projected to be £10m by the end of next March.

As patrons, Sting and Dame Margaret will support the Sage's fight to do this and will "bear the flag for the organisation", said a spokeswoman.

Dame Margaret, who has supported the Sage orchestra Royal Northern Sinfonia since before the music centre was built in 2004, said: “Sage Gateshead plays an important part in providing a varied programme of music and cultural events for everyone in the North East."

As part of its drive to secure its future survival, the Sage also intends to explore with audiences, musicians and communities what the future of music should look like.

Its managing director Abigail Pogson pointed out that the culture sector contributes to our wellbeing, education and social lives and it generates £32bn a year for the economy.

She said: “We are grateful that the Government has recognised the importance of the arts as part of the recent £1.57bn announcement.

"However, we know that Government support is only one of the ways in which we will get through this crisis phase and into recovery. Our own fundraising efforts remain a top priority."

She added: "I am so grateful to Sting and Dame Margaret, as friends of Sage Gateshead, for pledging to walk alongside us during this very challenging time.

"I am also hugely thankful to every single person who donated in support of Sage Gateshead during the campaign so far - we have been so overwhelmed by the support.”

For more information and to make a donation to the campaign see here.

(c) Evening Chronicle by Barbara Hodgson


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